In California, Grenache Makes More of What It Makes (Published 2016) (2023)


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In California, Grenache Makes More of What It Makes (Published 2016) (1)

pass throughEric Asimov

Grenache grapes are found almost everywhere. It is grown and distilled almost all over the world and is generally known by the French name "Grenache", but is sometimes referred to as "Spanish Grenache".

(Video) Crushing the 2016 Grenache grapes after the 2016 harvest at Qupe, California

However, despite its wide distribution, Grenache is one of the less popular varieties internationally. Its greatest expression appears where it is part of a blend, such as Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Priorat. Although coexistence with other grapes has not prevented Cabernet Sauvignon or Bordeaux from becoming international stars, Grenache has not emerged in the same way.

It's not for lack of trying. Grenache wines were championed by the early pioneers of California's Rhône-style wines 30 years ago, and while the delicious Grenache wines from producers such as Bonny Doon Vineyard, Qupé and Edmunds St. John have gained some popularity but, like the grapes, are always lurking in certain areas. Record.

However, Grenache can produce excellent wines in many locations. It can show brilliant colors on the stony and sandy soils of Châteauneuf-Neuf in France and on the slate of Priorat in Spain. limestone wineGiganteWines from the south of the Rhône may be less grandiose, but they are just as compelling. Grenache is a key component of the humble but satisfying wines produced in the south of France and the Mediterranean region of Spain.

Immigrant farmers who planted many of California's traditional vineyards, now famous for their ancient vines, often add Grenache to their blends, interspersed with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Carignan and many other grapes that allow these farmers to hedge their bets depending on the situation. . annual weather.

However, Grenache was also polarized in style. Perhaps this is true of any grape, as ultimately the winemaker's stylistic intentions determine the outcome more than the grape itself. But Grenache has special characteristics ideal for making extravagant wines.

On the one hand, it thrives in warm climates, and super-ripe Grenache has the sweetness and jam of a syrupy port. Wines from Newcastle, California's Central Coast and Australia's McLaren Vale have received critical acclaim over the past 20 years, setting the tone for many Grenache wines.

This style has always been popular, and it also deters drinkers like myself who value restraint, earthiness, and subtlety over sheer power. With Châteauneuf and California Grenache wines becoming hot bottles, many wine lovers no longer match power and price.

But, as with many recent wines, the bombastic Grenache elicits a more subdued response. In California, established Grenache producers produce balanced wines, although their style is not admired. They are now joined by younger producers who believe, as they do, that wine belongs at the dinner table, not the cocktail bar.

To better understand California Grenache today, the wine panel recently tasted 20 bottles from the 2012-2015 vintage. The tasting was attended by two guests: Florence Fabricant and I, the beverage director Eduardo Porto Carreiro fromUntitledChad Walsh, sommelier do Whitney Museum of American Artswampis a Nordic restaurant in Grand Central Station with an all-American wine list (except a Danish sparkling wine).

It was an exciting tasting and the 20 bottles had really different styles. Some of them are mostly fresh, floral, easy-to-drink wines that are more like Beaujolais than the famous Grenache. Other wines fall into this mallet category: thick, sweet, marmalade wines with hints of alcohol.

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However, it's not always the alcohol that's annoying. Even some of the larger styles can be attractive as long as they have structure and focus. Often, though, they feel flat and amorphous, like amorphous blobs with no coherent narrative to unfold.

“I have great grades,” Eduardo said of Grenas. “The purity of the fruit, the minerality of the savory and above all the texture: touch and purity, that's all.”

While I thought many of the wines tasted sweet, Chad was surprised at how little he found.

“I'm happy with the sharpness and balance,” he says. "I was forced to reevaluate its ability to transport minerals."

It is often said in wine publications that alcohol is just a number and should not be considered when judging a wine if it is balanced. But alcohol was definitely a factor in our blind tasting.

Of the 20 bottles, 5 were above 15% purity and we rejected 4 of them, including highly acclaimed wines from Herman Story, Torrin and Terry Hoage vineyards. Only Paso Robles' 2013 Villa Creek Garnacha made the top ten at No. 9, although its 15.2 ABV is a bit high.

Are we overly sensitive to alcohol? I do not think. High alcohol content often makes the wine appear heavy and can convey the impression of sweetness even if the wine is dry. However, while Grenache tends to make big wines, some of our favorite wines are anything but small.

(Video) Wine Review: A Tribute to Grace Santa Barbara Highlands Grenache 2016

Our second bottle was A Tribute to Grace 2013 from Shake Ridge Ranch in Amador County, 14.7 ABV. While full-bodied and fruity, it is also delicate, with a silky texture and elegant floral and raspberry flavors.

In third place is Bonny Doon's Clos de Gilroy 2014, a name perhaps outdated because the grapes no longer come from closer to Gilroy, California, but from Monterey County to the south. I always liked this wine. The '14 has black fruit but still a touch of tannin, with delicious earthy minerality and 14.5% alcohol. It's also our best value at $20.

Our best bottle of Neyers Vineyard 2014 from Rossi Ranch in Sonoma Valley is also a great value at $33. At just 13.6 alcohol, this wine is fresh and floral, perfectly balanced with minerality and delicious berry flavors.

Making authentic Grenache below 14% is not easy, although the Nayes family has proven that it can be done. Three other wines in our top-ten ranking are similarly low: the deliciously crunchy No. 4 Les Enfants Terribles de Dash in Dry Creek Valley, definitely in the Beaujolais category but delicious, as is number four; 10. Whitcraft from Stopman Vineyards in Ballard Canyon. It turned out to be about as pale as a dark rosé, and at $42 it was expensive for a picnic wine, but enjoyable nonetheless.

The most recent was the 2012 Mist Monster from Amador County No. 5, made by Andrea Mullineux, who produces fine wines with her husband Chris in the Swartland region of South Africa.MulyneuxEnrollment. Named after a coastal weather phenomenon, fog monsters are complex and fascinating.

Other notable wines include the juicy and earthy Pax 2012 from James Berry Vineyards in Paso Robles, the ripe and full-bodied Stolpman 2012 from Ballard Canyon, and the tannic and aromatic 2012 from Sceales Vineyards in Alexander Valley. Floral 2012 Hobo.

The style debate over Grenache will no doubt continue. Our position is clear. Still, no matter what Grenache California style you prefer, it's good to know you'll be able to find it.

California Grenache Tasting

★★★Nayes Sonoma Valley Heina Rossi Ranch 2014US$ 33

Fresh, floral, balanced and delicious with notes of red fruits and strong earthy minerality.

★★★Homenagem a GRACE SIERRA FOOTHILLS Grenache Shake Ridge Ranch 2013US$ 79

Elegant and silky with intense and high notes of raspberry and cherry.

(Video) Syrah/Grenache, 2016. Mas Pellier // February 2018 Vintners Series with Wine of the Month Club

Best value: ★★½BONNY DOON CLOS DE GILROY Grenache Monterey County 201420 dollars

Dark and well balanced with firm tannins, red fruit and earthy flavors.

★★½DASHE THE TERRIBLE CHILDREN Dry Creek Grenache 2015US$ 25

A bit plain but fresh, floral and crunchy with hints of plum and spice.

★★½Mist Monster Amateur County Grenache 2012US$ 49

Fresh, lively and complex with balanced flavors of red fruits, earth and citrus.

★★½Parkes Paso Robles James Berry Vineyards Red Wine 2012US$ 40

Juicy, earthy and balanced, with floral aromas and flavors and juicy red fruits.

★★Stopman Vineyards Ballard Canyon Grenache 2012US$ 25

Ripe and full of juicy dark fruit, earth and spice flavors.

★★Wine HOBO Alexandre Grenache 2012US$ 35

Tannins and light floral aromas with hints of cherry and pomegranate.

★★Vera Creek Paso Robles Grenache 2013US$ 45

Sweet raspberry flavors, chewy tannins and a bit of alcoholic warmth.

★★Whitcraft Ballard Canyon Grenache Stopman Vineyards 2014US$ 42

Light ruby ​​in color, almost like a dark rosé, but salty and earthy with a pleasant bitterness.

Recipe pairing:Roasted Grapes with Chicken

Many years ago, at dinner near Toulouse, in southwestern France, I enjoyed a dish that has become an unforgettable memory. It's a simple chicken casserole cooked with bunches of Chasselas grapes, a white grape variety little available in the United States and better known in Switzerland, where it's known as fetad. In the Toulouse region, clusters of chasselas are more likely to appear in a bowl of fruit than a glass of wine. I pair this dish with the often earthy California Grenache grape. My recipe is based on poulet au vinegarigre (chicken in vinegar sauce) and adds pitted red grapes instead of chasselas. I also swapped out some of the tomato from the classic for a syrupy vinaigrette at the end, which goes better with the grenache. A tip: when buying grapes, make sure they are sweet and have a green stem, which is a sign of freshness.manufacturer

(Video) Winecast: Grenache E siga Eric Asimov no Twitter: @EricAsimov.

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(Video) Grenache/Syrah, 2014. Acantalys // May 2016 Limited Series with Wine of the Month Club


1. Grenache, 2014. The Auctor // September 2016 Limited Series with Wine of the Month Club
(Wine Talks with Paul K)
2. 2016 Santa Ynez Valley Grenache
(Beckmen Vineyards)
3. Beckmen Vineyards 2016 PMV Grenache Blanc
(Beckmen Vineyards)
4. Beckmen Vineyards 2016 Purisima Mountain Vineyard Grenache Whole Cluster
(Beckmen Vineyards)
5. Grenache/Carignane, 2011. Broken Arrow // July 2016 Limited Series with Wine of the Month Club
(Wine Talks with Paul K)
6. Gorgeous Grenache No.1 2016, wine review


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